Seasonal affective disorder misdiagnosed, depression because ‘a lot of things kind of suck right now’

Seasonal affective disorder misdiagnosed, depression because ‘a lot of things kind of suck right now’

Atlantic Canada — Etta James once said, “When I’m singing the blues, I’m singing life.” And, as the weather turns colder and global crises deepen, the lives of many are feeling a lot bleaker than usual.

At this time of year Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is often diagnosed, but medical doctors are saying that this year there has been a spike in SAD misdiagnosis. They say that the depression many are feeling isn’t weather-induced, but rather it’s completely justified given current events.

“Many people start to get the ‘winter blues’ in November and December,” said New Brunswick family doctor Alexis Saisonnier. “But, lately we’ve seen a spike in the number of cases of mild depression. We believe that this is not caused by the change of seasons, but rather the legitimately depressing things happening in the world.

“In effect, a lot of things kind of suck right now and that leaves people feeling shitty.

“Today, we are speaking out to validate those feelings,” she continued. “It’s not just in your head, you have very legitimate reasons to feel like shit. A lot of  bad stuff is happening right now, and it wears on people after a while.”

Saint John resident Mavis Tristen understands. “Oh God, I’ve had this miserable cold for two weeks and it’s completely sapping my energy. I wake up in the morning and don’t feel like moving at all. Then, I turn on the news to this Harvey Weinstein / Al Franken / Roy Moore / Louis C.K. / Matt Lauer awfulness. It’s a new despicable, gross nightmare of human ugliness every day.

“Then if that’s not enough, Trump is destroying the world economy by giving all of the money to the rich, while at the same time daring North Korea to start a nuclear war. We are building fallout shelters again for the first time since the Cold War for god’s sake!

“Russian hackers. Unemployment is up. I didn’t win the Hospital Home Lottery house. I mean, enough already!”

While doctors recommend light therapy, medication and psychotherapy to deal with seasonal depression, Tristen has a different strategy to beat these blues.

“Wine,” she said. “I mean, a lot.”

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